Berwick Partners’ inaugural North West Chemicals Sector Dinner was held in the glorious surroundings of Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire yesterday evening. What a great success! Partnering with leading law firm Bond Dickinson we and our guests from the region’s major chemicals companies such as BASF, INEOS, Vertellus and Air Products, had the pleasure of listening to our speaker, Tom Crotty.
Tom is a Group Director of INEOS; a $57bn private petrochemical company, and a significant manufacturing employer in the UK and around the world. Covering a range of topics, including shale gas, Brexit, President Trump, and the future of the UK Chemicals sector, Tom entertained and educated his audience in equal measure.
Clearly a passionate fan of UK manufacturing, he made a very powerful argument for the development unconventional hydrocarbons (shale gas) in the UK. He stated that if we can harness the extensive reserves beneath our feet - equal to the entire conventional hydrocarbon reserves in the North Sea- we would have the potential to become self-sufficient in our energy supply and to generate the vital feedstock for our manufacturing base.
He went on to discuss how UK manufacturing, as a contributor to GDP, has declined from 23% to just over 9% in the last 20 years. However, he advised that this decline could be stemmed, and the UK could follow the US in the resurgence of its petrochemical and industrial manufacturing sectors; fuelled by shale gas exploration. The US has shown that its industrial towns, such as Pittsburgh, can benefit from significant investment and development – not to mention the reshoring of manufacturing to those places – as a direct bi-product of shale gas.
Tom’s talk was followed by a spirited Q&A session, allowing our guest to delve further into the topics he discussed and to share their own perspectives.
Both Bond Dickinson and Berwick Partners are intent on developing our presence in the North West Chemicals Cluster, and we look forward to our next joint event. The challenge will be to find a speaker to follow Tom Crotty!